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Improving Punctuation and Grammar when Writing Essays

You do not have to look very far to find someone who will tell you that standards of English have dropped in recent times. Today you will find school leavers who have trouble with spelling and grammar. When it comes to punctuation, well, there are millions of people who have no idea of the correct way to use the apostrophe. You only have to look at large signs on the front of businesses where people use an apostrophe when it shouldn't be there or leave one out when it should be.

But you, as a student, will be asked to write many essays during your school years. As much as you may hate aspects of writing essays, there is one aspect of it where you can be a star; where you can be perfect. I'm talking about grammar and punctuation.

Don't rely on mechanical means

Now anyone who has written an essay using a word processing software package will know that it is possible to check your punctuation and grammar using the inbuilt device which is part of the software. And yes, this can be a handy and helpful tool. But it's also possible that the software gets it wrong. It's hardly news that machines and robots are not perfect. So use the inbuilt tool to check your grammar and punctuation but always read through your work once you've finished to double-check.

There are so many basic things which you need to lock away. Here are some examples of those things.

  • Capital letters.
  • Direct speech.
  • Singular and plural.

There are so many basic words which do not require a capital letter that you would think it would be easy to get the words which do need a capital letter right in the first place. The name of a person and a place are obvious examples. Then when it comes to reporting direct speech, that is the words that somebody speaks as found in a novel. Just as a particular format of an essay such as the APA format will have specific requirements as to the presentation of the work, so too there are specific requirements for notating direct speech.

How do you find the correct requirements? There are scores of books with sections on grammar and punctuation and the Internet today is awash with websites giving you instructions. The crazy thing about punctuation and grammar is that once you learn the correct way and apply it to all your writing it will become second nature.

Proofreading is a vital part of all your essay writing. By reading aloud you give yourself a chance to pick up mistakes. Singular and plural is a perfect example of a mistake he can spot by reading aloud.

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